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Kitchen Tip: How to Grill Seafood

 The recipe and photography for this post was provided Heinen’s partner, Chef Billy Parisi. 

Learn a few fool-proof ways to maximize the flavor of fresh seafood using a grill!

Preparing seafood can be intimidating. It can be especially challenging to cook on the grill because its texture allows it to easily stick to the hot grates. Don’t let this deter you from taking advantage of Heinen’s fresh seafood selection! I have a few simple tips that will have you grilling fishy fare like a pro in no time!

Pre-Grill Seafood

Tips For Getting Started

  1. Whether you’re grilling or cooking with a pan, fish will likely always stick to the cooking surface. The first thing you can do to help prevent this is to pat the fish dry on both sides with a paper towel. Anything that is wet is going to want to stick to a hot surface, so anything you can do to help cut back on the moisture will absolutely help.
  2. The second thing to remember is to let the fish cook. It’s hard to be patient when you’re constantly worried about overcooking your fillet. Let the fish naturally pull away from the grill grates or pan before being so eager to flip it after 2 minutes. You may cook the fish for 6-7 minutes on one side and only 2-3 minutes on the other side after flipping.
  3. Lastly, before we get into cooking on different surfaces on the grill, remember to use some sort of oil or butter on the fish before cooking. Oil or butter will help lubricate the fish, allowing it to release from whatever it is you’re cooking on. No need to drown the fish in oil, but a few teaspoons can go a long way.

Cooking Methods

Grill Pan

The easiest way to cook fish on the grill is with a grill pan. Grill pans are cast iron and have built-in grates that will help you achieve grill marks and smoky flavor. Start by heating the pan with the grill to high heat, I recommend 550°F, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Make sure the fish is patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then, add some oil to the grill pan, followed by the fish. Remember to let the fish gently pull away from the pan instead of trying to scrape it off. This procedure will work for any piece of fish, although I recommend using a steak fish like swordfish, tuna or salmon. If you close the hood of the grill while cooking with a grill pan, the heat will be intense and the fish will cook fairly quickly.

Fish in Grill Pan

Salt Block

One of the most unique ways to cook on the grill is with a salt block. A salt block is a large chunk of salt that can be used in the oven or placed directly on a grill preheated to 550°F. The goal is to make sure that the salt block is very hot to prevent the fish from sticking. There is no need to season the fish before cooking on a salt block because it will absorb the delicious salt during the cooking process!

Once the salt block is hot, it will start to lighten in color. Once hot, drizzle some oil right onto the salt block, followed by the fish. Close the hood of the grill to allow the fish to cook evenly on all sides. After 6-8 minutes, simply flip the fish over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. I used grouper to cook on the salt block and it was seasoned it to perfection. Any fish similar to grouper, such as sea bass, mahi mahi or halibut would be delicious, too!

Fish on Salt Block_

Basket

The last, and most practical way to cook fish on the grill is with a basket. This is a fool-proof way to ensure that fish will not stick to the grill, as it will not touch the grates directly. With that being said, it is incredibly important to still pat the fish dry and brush it with oil, because it can absolutely stick to the basket. Using a basket will allow you to cook skin-on fillets and crisp them to perfection without worrying about sticking. The only other way to cook fish with the skin on is in a hot sauté pan.

You can also add flavors like lemon and herbs to the fish while in the basket. For this method, I prefer to use whole, skin-on fish or any skin-on fillet, such as walleye.

Fish in Basket

That’s all there is to it! Have fun and get creative cooking seafood on the grill and remember, you are only limited by your own creativity. With these easy ways to cook fish on the grill, you can now do it with confidence.

By Chef Billy Parisi
Chef Billy Parisi is a culinary school grad who spent 15 years in the restaurant industry as a line cook, sous chef and executive chef. Now he develops, photographs and films simple and delicious recipes that will make everyone feel like a chef in their own kitchen.

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